Its probably a bit too late to post anything on the topic of Ebola now, but I have finally gotten around to reading up on the disease and the current epidemic causing chaos and destruction in west Africa and wanted to share what I found to be informative, interesting and worth reading.
How did the current epidemic start and spread? This article from the New York Times gives a good overview of the facts. This one from the Washington Post explains why this epidemic is different from previous ones.
Now the biology – just what is Ebola and what does it do? This Blog post at PLoS tells you just how the Ebola virus kills.
There has been much discussion about whether to provide experimental treatments for use in West Africa. The WHO has now decided that it is ethical to do so, but as this article from the Guardian points out, ethical criteria such as freedom of choice, transparency, respect and informed consent must guide this provision.
But just what experimental drugs are available? This article from PopSci talks about the experimental drug ZMapp.
Finally, these two excerpts from memoirs from the renowned epidemiologist Peter Piot who co-discovered the Ebola virus in 1976 are well worth a read. In part one he describes how he and his colleagues discovered a new deadly virus which was causing an unusual epidemic in Zaire. In part two he travels to Zaire to try and understand how it is spreading and how to contain it. His descriptive accounts really bring the desperation, uncertainty and terror of the situation in Zaire to life, and illustrate the commitment and dedication of the scientists involved. Really worth a read.